Yesterday, the EPA received a petition arguing the agency should use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to phase out greenhouse gas emissions. According to petitioner and former EPA leader Donn Viviani, “TSCA is like the ruby slippers [in The Wizard of Oz] – it can do just about anything. It can allow you to put a levy on carbon, and can deal with the legacy of carbon emissions. It has nearly international reach, as the US is the biggest market in the world and could apply these measures to imports too.”

Under TSCA, amended by a bipartisan vote in 2016, the EPA now has 90 days to determine if greenhouse gasses present “an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment,” and if so, it would have considerable leeway to regulate. As longtime NASA climate scientist James Hansen told the Guardian, “Using the TSCA would be one small step for [the US president] Joe Biden, but potentially a giant leap for humankind – as a first step towards making the polluters pay.” (The Guardian, Petition fact sheet, etc.)